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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"If you can read this... "

Last month, I went back to school after six years. Everything had changed. A swanky new swimming pool stood where there was barren land. The classrooms were made up beautifully - there were paintings all over. There was a reading room where there existed a science laboratory. And the science laboratory was shifted to another larger place. There was an outdoor chessboard with life-size chess pieces. The school now boasted of three playgrounds – and all this was quite an achievement for a privately governed 15 years old school.

I watched with amazement these changes in my school and kept saying “Yeh hamaare time mein kyun nahi tha…” I happened to walk past the classrooms when I heard a familiar voice. Our Hindi teacher. In that typical tone of hers, she was reading out some chapter from the textbook. Yes, I remembered the chapter. It was about two sisters-in-law who fight and decide to split up the family. Like any other schoolbook chapter, the story ended on a happy note – this is what the textbook-makers are particular about.

She saw me outside the classroom and seemed happy. She completed her dictation while I waited outside the classroom. Then she came out and started talking, “How are you Aditya? What are you doing these days?” “I am doing my computer engineering at Somaiya.” “Wow, that’s so nice. You all have become big boys and girls now.” I smiled gleefully. We exchanged goodbyes and I left the place.

I met many other teachers who were all happy to see an ex-student visiting the school. I was very glad to meet them too – many of them asked me if I was in touch with Swati Ghiya. The famous, talented girl of my batch – then, a rival and now, quite a friend. They still remembered her vividly. Teachers love their students – especially the school teachers do.

I came back home but something seemed to be lingering in my mind. I was feeling disturbed – and I did not know why. This is where the cause of trouble lies for most of us – ignorance. I kept wondering why I was feeling weird and initially thought it was just the nostalgia. But it was not that. It was certainly something else.

A couple of days later, I met a school friend of mine– I would not give away the name because this write-up is going to portray her in a bad light. She said, “I had been to school the other day. I was shocked to see the teachers teaching the same lessons – god! Their knowledge is static – the same lessons, the same ‘extra questions’ and ‘important questions’. ” The words struck me like a bolt of lightening – almost. Yes, this was what was troubling me.

As I walked home, my mind was filled with thoughts. Over the six years after I passed out from school, I had been a part of various educational institutions – studied under many many teachers. When the course is on, we often tend to ridicule them, imitate their mannerisms, tag them as ‘khadoos’ or ‘bechari’. And then we pass out from that institution, move on with our lives, take up a job, get promoted and keep climbing the ladder step by step. And then one day, we look back like this friend of mine, rather look down on them.

They are the people who stood by us – the people who pushed us, the people who helped us to take our initial steps on the ladder of worldly success. They are still standing there. Helping others do what they did to you, years ago. They are the Teachers.

From grammar to arithmetic, from world history to environmental science – all this has been the foundation of whatever we have managed to do in our lives. One cannot undermine the sheer magnitude of the difference these teachers have made to all of us. Every single teacher we have had has contributed in making us the person that we are. And to them, we can only be grateful.

I stopped thinking. Switched on my computer. I changed the signature line of my email account to a quote I had read somewhere – “If you can read this, thank a teacher.”

Today I had realised what that meant.
-Aaditya Joshi


  1. Dear Aaditya,

    this text of yours has certainly made me very very very emotional.....!!!
    in each and every line of this text...i can feel myself walking in my own school....!!!
    i miss my school so much...!!!

    and yes...
    i absolutely second your opinion...!!

    A student's worthy is recognized only by the ground on which he/she stands...
    and believe me.....
    "Teachers are every student's much needed ground....without whom no student can ever think of even standing on his/her own feet...!!!"

    Thanks for putting up such a wonderful text here....!!!

    i hope...almost..every internet user visits this blog and reads this text....!!!

    because ultimately..it is conveying the truth of every person's life....
    which unfortunately.....many of us are trying to overlook....!!!

    a great text indeed....!!!

    thnks for writing it...!!!


  2. its nice to have a blogger like you around in the crowd of busy idiot engineers..

    i know you love yor school.. and even i do, i guess everyone does.
    but the way you describe things is really uncomparable..
    let it be a concept in engineering, music and even sex.. ;)
    this time you really moved me from inside, you made me see yor school through your words..

    i agree there's been a nominal change in my school too since i left it after 10th grade..
    yes.. they colored the gate pink.
    nothing else..

    but i believe not every teacher is worth noticing and remembering for..
    there were some teachers whom i respected from the bottom of my heart, they were TEACHERS.. while i despised a bunch of them for being mere EMPLOYEE to an educational institute..
    they came there for earning..
    while some others made LEARNING..

    they not only taught us, they hold our hands when we need company, they cheered for us while we were playing on ground.. they gave us the sense of good and bad.. which was never a part of syllabus..

    you made me visualize all those golden days of my school life..
    my alma-mater.. and i love her.

  3. hey Aditya,

    m really really glad to read this.n m commenting this not from the point of view of a student but of a teacher. m wrking in the education sector and i can very well understand what it feels to be teaching the same stuff year over year..teaching is indeed a very stagnating career in itself..it gets frustating and in todays time youth like u n me dnt respect our teachers( unless a realization that u had or an experience in teaching for me). all of us end up our school n college life imitating, ridiculing or smirking at our teachers n den forget them. we hardly go back show any kinda respect n regard for our teachers....

    we are what we are coz of them n we owe them ALOT. n dey deserve every bit of respect for what their work.

    m really glad u wrote this...:))